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North East Local Enterprise Partnership reaction to ONS regional labour market statistics

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (North East LEP) Strategy and Policy Director, Richard Baker, has commented on today’s regional labour market statistics, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

“Today’s figures continue to demonstrate the impact of COVID-19 on our economy with a continuing decrease in employment and a rise in the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits.

“The decision to extend the furlough scheme will protect many jobs for the future. However, it remains an uncertain time for businesses as a result of Covid controls and the need to continue to adapt to new processes following the Trade Deal with the European Union.

“It is essential that government continues to support the economy through the pandemic and invests to support the proposals in our COVID-19 Recovery Plan to enable us to drive forward our region’s recovery.

“The data released today covers the three-month period to November 2020. Employment continued to decrease during this time, both nationally and in the North East. The employment rate for the North East region, including the North East LEP and the Tees Valley LEP areas, was the lowest in England at 71.2 per cent. Both the unemployment rate and the number of working age people outside the labour market were much higher than they were between March and May 2020. The number of people being made redundant was at its highest level since 2009.

“In the North East LEP area, the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits has increased by over 31,000 since March, with rates at 10 per cent in some areas. Employment in the region has fallen in most age groups, but the largest impact appears to have been on those aged under 25 and among 50 to 64-year-olds.

“These statistics include the November lockdown period but do not include the impact of the restrictions since Christmas.

“Strategic leadership and a strong partnership with government is more critical than ever – we will work closely with government to ensure that support for businesses is reflective of the need of our region.”

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North East Local Enterprise Partnership reaction to ONS regional labour market statistics

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (North East LEP) Strategy and Policy Director, Richard Baker, has commented on today’s regional labour market statistics, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

“Today’s figures show a national surge in unemployment as employers prepared for the end of the furlough scheme. The North East region now has the highest rate of unemployment in the country which is extremely concerning – especially as this month’s data does not yet take account the impact of the current tighter restrictions.

“The unemployment figure for the North East region, including the North East LEP and the Tees Valley LEP areas, was at 6.7 per cent at the end of September, compared to 4.8 per cent nationally. The North East LEP area has seen the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits increase by over 60 per cent since March. A big concern is the large rise in younger people aged 16-24 not in employment across the UK.

“Our businesses continue to work hard to keep their teams together, but we are faced with a stop-start recovery, where ongoing support will be critical for business and for jobs. We welcome government’s recent decision extend the support available to the economy and will be monitoring its impact closely as we move into the winter.

“Strategic leadership and a strong partnership with government is more critical than ever – we need to ensure that support for businesses is reflective of the need of our region.”

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North East Local Enterprise Partnership reaction to ONS regional labour market statistics

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist, Victoria Sutherland, comments on this week’s regional labour market statistics, released by the Office for National Statistics.

“The statistics once again show a relatively stable picture for the North East including Tees Valley, although the region has recorded a slight drop in the number of people in employment.

“While this figure is 2,000 lower compared with the previous quarter, it is still 8,000 higher than the same time last year.

“Looking at unemployment, we can see that there are 1,000 fewer people who are unemployed in the region – again, a slight decrease compared with the previous quarter.

“However, the number of people who economically inactive – that is people aged 16 to 64 who are not working and who are not looking for work – has risen by 4,000 this quarter.

“When we compare the North East region with elsewhere in the UK, we see a similar pattern across the wider North, with Yorkshire and Humber also experiencing a decrease in the number of people in employment and the North West employment rate falling this quarter.

“While the UK overall may be seeing a rise in employment numbers, it’s important that the Government recognises the picture here in the North and puts plans in place to mitigate the uncertainty we’re currently seeing in the UK economy, which is likely to be having an impact on investment and jobs here in the North East.

“The team here at the North East LEP will be continuing to work with partners in the region, as well as Government, to create more and better jobs for our region and strengthen our regional economy through the implementation of the North East Strategic Economic Plan.”

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North East Local Enterprise Partnership reaction to ONS regional labour market statistics July 2019

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist Victoria Sutherland gave her reaction to today’s regional labour market statistics.

“Today’s figures show a broadly stable picture. The number of people in employment in the North East region, including Tees Valley, is 4,000 higher than in the last quarter – this is a small increase but one that we welcome, especially given recent volatility here and elsewhere.

“Compared with the same period last year, again we see a small increase, with 2,000 more people in employment.

“In terms of unemployment and economic inactivity, levels of unemployment have remained steady compared with the last quarter. Economic inactivity, which is measured as people aged 16 to 64 who are not in work and are not looking for work, has remained broadly stable over both the last quarter and the last year.

“Across the rest of the North we can see that there have been large decreases in the number of people in employment during the last quarter. This illustrates the uncertainty within the economy.

“Also released today is data showing employment trends for the North East LEP area only. Creating 100,000 more and better jobs in the North East LEP area by 2024 is a key target of the North East Strategic Economic Plan. Today’s figures show that, since 2014, 74,900 jobs have been added to the North East economy – meaning that we are 75% of the way towards achieving our target.

“The team here at the North East LEP will continue to work with our partners to deliver the Strategic Economic Plan and its ambition of more and better jobs for people here in our region.”

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North East LEP Regional Labour Market Statistics reaction

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist Victoria Sutherland gave her reaction to today’s regional labour market statistics.

“We are pleased that today’s data shows that employment continues to rise in the North East.

“The number of people in the North East in work has increased 2,000 over the quarter and 27,000 over the year.

“There has been particularly strong growth in employment in professional, scientific and technical activities (such as law, accountancy and architecture); accommodation and food services (such as hotels, restaurants and bars); agriculture, forestry and fishing; and arts, entertainment and recreation.

“The increase in employment opportunities has resulted in the number of people that are unemployed falling. The unemployment rate for 16 to 64 year olds is now 5.0%, compared to 6.7% a year ago and 8.0% two years ago.

“The North East has experienced the largest decrease in its unemployment rate of all English regions over the last year. It was also the region with the largest increase in its employment rate.

“Whilst our progress is great news, there is still more to be done. The North East LEP will continue to work with its partners to deliver the Strategic Economic Plan’s ambition of more and better jobs for the region.”